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FULL EPISODE

¡COLORES! April 18, 2015

Longtime Albuquerque artist Nick Abdalla finds that process is the most important. Sculptor Barbara Sorensen’s work radiates with energy. Artist Howard Solomon creates his home, reminiscent of a medieval castle. It is made from scraps. And musician Joe Powers received his first harmonica as a child, a gift that turned into a lifelong passion.

AIRED: April 17, 2015 | 0:26:55
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TRANSCRIPT

ON COLORES! >>LONG TIME

ALBUQUERQUE ARTIST NICK

ABDALLA FINDS THAT PROCESS IS

THE MOST IMPORTANT. >> \"I\'ve

learned how to play again.\"

>>SCULPTOR BARBARA SORENSEN\'S

WORK RADIATES WITH ENERGY. >>

\"I like the mark of the artist

to show and I think

as a result there\'s a lot

of energy that\'s infused

in the work just

subconsciously.\" >>ARTIST

HOWARD SOLOMON CREATES

HIS HOME, REMINISCENT

OF A MEDIEVAL CASTLE. IT IS

MADE FROM SCRAPS. >> \"When

I look at a piece of scrap

metal or junk, as we call It,

it reminds me of something. It

might look like a nose

or an ear or a hand.\"

>>MUSICIAN JOE POWERS RECEIVED

HIS FIRST HARMONICA

AS A CHILD. A GIFT THAT TURNED

INTO A LIFELONG PASSION. >> \"I

really love the kind of music

where I can close my eyes

and I can make it my own.\"

>>NARRATOR: NICK ABDALLA

CREATES LIKE IT\'S A JOURNEY

WITH NO DESTINATION IN MIND.

>>Sometimes the hardest part

is to allow myself the freedom

to play rather than to want

to make something specific.

>>I think the biggest problem

I have in starting a piece, is

trying to not think about what

I want it to be, trying

to find a way to work with it

so that it tells me what it

needs to be, that I can listen

to what it needs to be. >>I\'ve

learned how to play again.

>>The idea of repurposing.

The idea of taking apart

something which had a life

and that I can give it a new

kind of life, sort

of reincarnation I suppose

in a way. It appeals to me

very much. I\'m a dumpster

diver. I see stuff, like

various kinds of discarded

materials, I grab them. People

leave themfor me. I can walk

out my front door sometimes

and find a piece of furniture

blocking the doorway.

Because these pieces are

so evolutionary as I work

on them, they start

with nothing, I add something,

I move something I change

something, I take something

away. It\'s a game that it

plays and I play with it.

The more I work on it the more

possibilities I see.

Because they\'re so open,

you can see where I began,

you can see where they end.

There\'s a full history of them

but the other part

of the history is like

in the surface of them as Igo

over and over them they begin

to take on the patina, that

feels like maybe they came out

of an archeological dig or are

still covered with dust

or they have some sort

of aspect of where they\'ve

been or how long they\'ve been

around. It reminds me

of a memory I have as a child

playing in an old abandoned

Catholic Church. It was an old

adobe church that had stucco

on it and at the entrance

to the church were mesquite

bushes on either side

of the door and as

the mesquite bushes would grow

every year and the wind would

blow and scratch

into the surface of the stucco

and every year they would grow

a bit and the scratches would

grow up you\'d have this big

fan showing the entire life

history of this mesquite bush.

I find that process is exactly

what I relate to in these

particular works. When I first

started I thought I was making

paintings, I was making art,

I was making these things. Now

I want to get to that place

that\'s called the zone and I\'m

making these things where

I loose track of time. I loose

track of where I am. I simply

go some place and stay there

for the entire time that I\'m

making these things. When

I don\'t go there these things

are simply work. They\'re hard

work. They\'re pleasure when

I go someplace else

because I go someplace totally

outside myself and totally

inside myself simultaneously.

I always know when to start

but I don\'t think I always

know when to finish. My former

studio mate used to come

through to get to his studio

next door would always walk

by and say, \"Stop, stop,\"

and I almost never would.

I tend to over work things.

That\'s been a process

in my life, my entire life.

I seem not to know when

to stop. Maybe I\'ll run out

of time, maybe I\'ll run out

of patience, maybe I\'ll run

out of materials. Sometimes

I\'ll stop and I\'ll think,

\"That\'s it,\" but often times

I just wantto do this a little

more. Sometimes I think

they\'re finished for a year

and a year later I come back

and I start tinkering

with them I can make it

better, I can see another way

of doing it. I don\'t know when

to stop. That\'s a curse I have

to live with. What\'s important

to me about my work is just

the making of it. I like

sharing it. I can\'t tell

somebody what to come to these

pieces with. Everyone comes

with their own experiences

and they take away what ever

they take away. For me it\'s

a matter of identification. It

may be a matter of what it

does rather than what it is.

For example a piece that

I like called \"Dancer\"

you know isn\'t really dancing

but it reminds me of something

dancing. If somebody else sees

something totallydifferent

in it, there\'s absolutely

nothing I can do about that.

>> I don\'t believe that

you can program a viewer

as to how to experience

whatever piece you have,

but the bare fact that I just

get the opportunity to come

in and one, play, number two,

zone out and go someplace

else. >>You know, I suppose

if I just had a big bon fire

and used them to fuel

the fire, there\'s only a few

pieces I would save, I can\'t

let go of these. I\'m not

so sure that they mean,

they\'re not precious, to me

any longer. The process

of making them was more

important. You know life is

sort of like an etch-a-sketch,

you draw this thing, you take

this thing, you erase it,

you know, and do another one

and erase it. There\'s

no evidence you were ever

there to tell you take that

paper off and you see there\'s

little indentations, like

little worm tracks, that said

you were there. Maybe that\'s

it, you know, there\'s a way

of sort of \"I was here

for a moment.\" Maybe that\'s

what it\'s about. >>NARRATOR:

SCULPTOR BARBARA SORENSEN

CREATESTEXTURED CLAY STATUES

TO TOWERING ALUMINIUM

STRUCTURES.>>Barbara Sorensen:

My work itself is

about the landscape

about the environment. >>I

spend a lot of time hiking,

snorkeling, biking. I spend

a lot of time outdoors

and my work itself is

in the end about change

and about movement, just

as the Earth grows

and changes. It\'s about what

I see out there in

the landscape. I look at it,

I reinterpret it, and then

I give it back transformed

to my audience. >>The

materials I use for creating

my pieces are varied.

In the beginning I started

in clay and since then I have

moved from clay to bronze

to resins to aluminum

to powdered coated aluminum

and some various materials.

>>My creative process first

of all I don\'t do a lot

of drawing ahead of time.

I have a lot of ideasin

my head and I\'ll do sketches

and so then I\'ll just start

with the clay and I\'ll have

slabs and I\'ll build and I\'ll

build and I\'ll push

from inside and I\'ll build

some more. I\'ll use

fingerprints.I do like clay

particularly, and actually all

of my materials to let

the process show so I like

the mark of the artist to show

and I think as a result

I think there\'s a lot

of energy that\'s infused

in the work just

subconsciously and more

specifically with for example

the powder coated aluminum

dwellings, the powder coated

aluminum rod pieces, again

I have some sketches, I happen

to work with a master welder

for that and I cut and bend

and hold the metal and it\'s

just an active process.

We work a little, we just,

we add parts. >>I think

there\'s three favorite series.

My goddesses are very very

important to me because

I thinkthey represented a time

in my career when I finally

developed my own voice

as an artist and I love

the shields, the shields,

the shields are my big flat

round medallions. They\'ve got

squares, they\'ve got hints

of latches, the texture is

like peeling stucco, and then

the chalices. I think that

would be my third one. Those

directly are related

to the metamorphosis

of the Earth\'s crust for me

andfor plate tectonics

and overlapping plates. You\'ll

see a kind of quilt work

on there. >>Well my speleothem

series being my newest series

represents for me the truest

actual installation that I\'ve

done. A tru total

environmental piece,

but basically the speleothems

are a big thirty by forty foot

dark cave space and they\'re

about 21 stalactites

and stalagmites growing up

from the floor and hanging

from the ceiling

and the audience has to walk

among them and they feel like

they\'re ina cave and I\'m just

really excited to have that

integration of the viewer

and my work. >>NARRATOR:

HOWARD SOLOMON HAS BUILT

AN ARTISTIC FORTRESS.

>>Howard: Internationally

known artist and sculptor,

Howard Solomon lives

in his own castle. >>Near

rural Ona, Florida, this

unique building has the facade

of a 12,000 square feet

medieval castle that is

covered with Used printing

plates discarded by the local

newspaper. The result is

a shiny, highly stylized

castlehousing Howard\'s studio

and gallery. We took the trek

to discover what lies in store

for those willing to get off

the beaten path. >>My name is

Howard Solomon. We\'re

in Hardee County. Been here 41

years. I think of it

as my home. Aman\'s castle is

his home. My intention was

to build a combination home

and studio. There wasn\'t

enough horizontal land

for my plan. >>I built

the castle because I had

to build up instead of out.

And one day reading the local

paper, I saw that the paper

had an ad to sell printing

plates for 10 cents apiece.

I said, well, that will be

a very reflective material.

It\'s rust-proof and it would

make a nice shiny castle.

I learned as I went,

and I made errors along

the way. Some of the errors

i have to live with. I learned

whatever i had to learn and it

wound up being something like

20 or 25 different trades.

When i look at a piece

of scrap metal or junk,

as we call It, it reminds me

of something. It mightlook

like a nose or an ear

or a hand. And that is

the nucleus of the idea. Since

I have my own junkyard, find

pieces to go with it and weld

them together until it looks

like something that you don\'t

have to guess what it\'s

supposed to be. It looks like

what i intend it to be.

I prefer to call my work

impressionistic realism. I\'ve

always made wooden picture,

and they are called montage,

which means made from one type

of material. I got rather good

at it. I\'d make copies

of modern artist, precise

copies to the size and color.

Except instead of being

on a flat canvas, I made them

out of pieces of wood.

The process of making those

animals, actually, making

the animal twice. I start out

with quarter-inch diameter

steel, and that creates

the basic shape of the body

or the head. And then the next

stage is to cover the whole

sculpture with pieces of metal

cut from oil drums. I could

actually stop after the first

process and have what you saw

in the animal room

with the coat hangers, a wire

frame. In the case

of the elephant and the lion

and the eagle hanging

from the ceilingand

the fishman, those were frames

Covered with pieces of oil

drum material. I built this

when I lived in the Bahamas

in 1968, I think it was.

That\'s a lamp shade

with a trumpet. 1910 ford

kerosene lantern. Xerox

machine with a shock

absorber.The engineer is made

out of clay. His eyebrows are

almost human hair from 15

different parts of my body

because I don\'t throw anything

away. Alane Solomon: Growing

up at Solomon\'s Castle was,

I thought everybody\'s Dad was

innovative and creative like

my dad was. You really had

to keep an eye on your toys.

They are liable to disappear

and be enveloped

into a sculpting. My dad works

in the shop every day. He\'s

almost 80 years old,

but I think that\'s what helps

keep him useful. He\'s active.

He\'ll be in the shop three

to four hours a day, sometimes

up to six hours. Howard

Solomon: I started out making

little owls, and then

my imagination in looking

at different shapes of scrap

wood, they turned Into gnomes.

I would take them

to the sander and take off

the hard edges. Over

at the welding table, burn off

the fuzz or put some Dark

color into it with the torch.

Then a little bit of urethane

on it to cover up the burned

part so it doesn\'t come off

on your fingers. I glue

in the eyes and maybe a button

nose and it\'s all done. I make

hundreds of them in a year\'s

time. >>They are inexpensive

and like a souvenir

for Solomon\'s Castle. >>Alane:

People asking how did my dad

do, how could he possibly do

so much in a lifetime. He is

veryartistic, but i think

the difference between my dad

and most artists is he also

has a great business mind.

>>Howard: I was born an artist

and raised in a business

atmosphere. So I have

the unusual combination

of both. My unique situation

is I don\'t have to sell

anything, Because people are

paying me to look at it.

If I sell something, nine

times out of ten I\'ll have

to replace it because it\'s

foolish to sell something

people are paying you to look

at. >>Alane: My dad pretty

much raised me to believe

in if you have a dream,

you should go after it, even

if other people don\'t really

understand it or accept it, be

sure to keep compassion

at the front of your brain

and your heart. As long

as you\'re not hurting anyone

and even if people don\'t

really accept you or what

you\'re doing, then you should

do where your heart leads you.

>>Howard: I tell people that

I retired when I came here

and I was 37 years old.

And my retirement became

a hobby and then it became

a business. >>NARRATOR:

MUSICIAN JOE POWERS SHARES HOW

BIG A SMALL INSTRUMENT CAN

SOUND ... >>I actually got

my first harmonica when I was

just nine months old. (Music)

It was a stocking stuffer

for Christmas from my aunt

Susana. (music) >>She could

never have anticipated that

I would become a professional

>>IN A HALL IN SOUTHEAST

PORTLAND, JOE POWERS IS

PERFORMING WITH ALEX KREBS.

ALEX IS PLAYING THE BANDONEON,

A TRADITIONAL TANGO

INSTRUMENT. when you think

of tango you don\'t generally

think of harmonica (laugh)

(music) >>In tango a lot

of the time I\'m playing

a melody but I can interpret

that melody a thousand

>>The tango\'s not classical

music, it\'s meant to be

a little bit rough, so um, it

gives it this certain energy.

(music) >>JOE PLAYS CLASSICAL

MUSIC ON THE HARMONICA, TOO.

HE RECENTLY TRAVELED TO JAPAN

TO PLAY WITH THE ICHIKAWA

SYMPHONY. >>The harmonica is

an incredibly versatile

instrument. A lot of people

don\'t realize the full range

of sound you can get with it.

It adapts very nicely to ah,

to many different styles

of music. A lot of the time

I\'m playing a melody that

the composer never intended it

to be played on harmonica.

(music) >>Essentially it was

designed to be like a pocket

accordion. They come

in different keys. This one is

in the key of C it was made

to play the melody out

of the right side

of your mouth, and you have,

just like you would have

the left hand, you play

the accompaniment on the left

side. so if the melody is like

this (plays) I can add, like,

I can add, it sounds like

another instrument (plays) >>A

DIATONIC HARMONICA SOUNDS LIKE

ONLY THE WHITE NOTES

ON THE PIANO. THE LARGER

CHROMATIC HARMONICA HAS

A BUTTON THAT ALLOWS JOE

TO PLAY A BROADER RANGE

OF MUSIC. >>If I push

the button in, essentially

everything raises a half note.

A half step. So like, it\'s

like the black notes

on the piano. >>JOE STARTED

PLAYING THE CHROMATIC

HARMONICA WHEN HE WAS A MUSIC

COMPOSITION MAJOR

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON.

IT CHANGED HIS REPERTOIRE. >>I

was able to start to explore

a lot of different types

of music that I\'d never really

attempted to do before.

classical music, jazz, music

from different cultures >>A

LOVE OF TANGO MUSIC LED HIM

TO ARGENTINA, WHERE

HE PRACTICED DANCE AND PLAYED

HARMONICA. >>I love

the improvisational nature

of tango. You come together,

you don\'t have to say a word,

you embrace, the music starts

and you just start to dance.

You just feel the music. >>I

got this crazy idea that

I wanted to compete

in the world harmonica

championship which happens

every four years, it\'s kind

of like the harmonica Olympics

in Trossingon, Germany >>IN

2005, HE TOOK FOURTH PLACE

IN JAZZ DIATONIC -

AND THE TRIP TO EUROPE STARTED

HIM PLAYING WITH OTHER

MUSICIANS AROUND THE WORLD.

Not everybody realizes this

but when I blow into

the harmonica I get one note,

and when I draw I geta totally

different note. >>And

because you blow and draw

through the instrument I can

play for a really long time

and I don\'thave to take

a breath >>CURRENTLY, HE\'S

RECORDING A CD OF DUETS,

PAIRING HIS HARMONICA

WITH OTHER INSTRUMENTS. HE\'S

really love ah the kind

of music where I can close

my eyes and I can make it

my own. >>My passion is

exploring new possibilities

on the harmonica My aunt

Susannah, I think she\'s pretty

proud that I stuck with it.

I\'m sure she didn\'t see it

coming. >>NARRATOR: NEXT TIME

ON COLORES! >>FILM DIRECTOR

CHRIS EYRE, WINNER

OF THE SUNDANCE FILMMAKERS

TROPHY AND WINNER OF BEST FILM

AT THE AMERICAN INDIAN FILM

FESTIVAL, SHARES

HIS INSPIRATION AND CREATIVE

VISION. >> \"Most of all I just

try to bring humanity

to the characters.\" >>NEW

MEXICANS JERRY WELLMAN

AND MATTHEW CHASE-DANIEL PLAY

WITH THE IDEA OF WHERE AND HOW

ART CAN BESHOWN.

THEIR ALUMINUM SERVICE TRUCK

IS AN ART EXTRAVANGANZA. >>

\"The idea is to promote

experimentation in the arts.

Maybe more importantly is

to bring art to people who may

not normally experience art.\"

>>NATIONAL DANCE INSITUTE

OF NEW MEXICO HELPS STUDENTS

MAKE BIG STEPS IN AND OUT

OF THE CLASSROOM

THROUGH THE ART OF DANCE. >>

\"When each person gets

the shot in a spotlight where

you can just show off and just

let everybodylook into you...

it\'s like, just awesome.\"

>>UNTIL NEXT TIME, THANK

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